40 interviews were undertaken with local residents on door steps, in houses, gardens and over phone and email.
Insights from these interviews were then used to hold a community workshop to elaborate on concerns, which 43 residents attended. This research engaged with 67 local residents.
Below is a summary and further research into those concerns.
Take a few minutes to read through this and feel free to comment at the bottom.
Concern 1: Housing development on Whalebones Park would increase pollution levels
It is highly likely that if any new housing development happens, it will introduce more regular pollutant vehicles to the local area.
Residents surrounding Whalebones Park are highly likely to own cars, and use them regularly. This use is compounded by there only being one regular bus service that goes from High Barnet, High Street and Underground station to Whalebones Park on Wood Street.
Development on Whalebones Park will dramatically impact Barnet councils' air quality action plan.
Actions from Barnet's air quality action plan for 2017-2022, which matter in the context of development on Whalebones Park include
Part of this plan is to focus on certain areas to reduce pollution levels. Two of these areas that development on Whalebones Park would directly influence are Barnet Hill and High Barnet, High Street. (These areas are at the top of the map, below)
NO2 and PM10 would increase beyond a safe limit with a devleopment on Whalebones Park.
Barnet Council stipulate that there should be no more than 40 NO2 (µg/m3). As you can see from the map below, Barnet Hill was practically double that limit in 2013, with Wood Street just below it at some points.
Barnet council also stipulate that there should be more more than 40 PM10 (µg/m3). (PM10 stands for particulate matter of 10 micrometers. Basically microscopic stuff in the air). As you can see from the map below, Barnet Hill was just below the limit.
Both of these maps were created in 2013 before the new Elmbank development on Wood Street, which comprises of 33 new homes ranging from two bedrooms to five bedrooms.
Air quality on the focus areas is already highly likely to have got more polluted since 2013. It is also highly likely that the Elmbank development has further reduced air quality in the area surrounding Barnet hospital.
Concern 2: Housing development on Whalebones Park would change the ethos of the area
Many people move to High Barnet because they want to live in a leafy suburb of London, with access to the city, but also being able to experience the peace and tranquility of the countryside.
Whalebones Park currently supports that ethos by providing green surroundings to
Local residents who use Wood street
Barnet hospital patients who access the hospital past Whalebones Park. Especially the maternity ward, which overlooks Whalebones Park.
The school children and commuters who pass it on the way to their work day
Barnet council is well aware of this ethos and the impact that green space has on people's lives. It is even part of their corporate plan for ‘Barnet’s parks and green spaces will be amongst the best in London’.
However, green spaces are the fabric of Barnet’s society. Barnet council also accept that urban parks deliver a huge range of benefits.
These benefits can be broadly grouped into three categories:
It is worthwhile remembering that removing green space can lead to a change in the character and understanding of an area. As well as enhancing an area, Green Space can add benfits to the economy, society and environment.
Concern 3: Housing development on Whalebones Park would put further pressure on road traffic and parking
Whalebones Park is situated on Wood Street and Wellhouse lane, which is next to Barnet Hospital. This means that it is a main route for accident and emergency services.
Wood Street is also the main road connecting High Barnet to the A1 dual carriageway, which provides access to a large variety of other areas in the borough, including Edgware. This route is critical for emergency vehicles including ambulances and police cars.
It was known in 2014 that Wood Street had a large number of road accidents. This led a new roundabout and zebra crossing being built in the spring of 2017. It is not yet known what the impact of this change has been, but it did take four years to complete, which did increase congestion.
Also due to parking challenges at Barnet hospital, Wood Street is filled everyday with parked cars, many of which belong to hospital staff.
Wood Street is a main road connecting different parts of the borough together. There is unrestricted parking on it as well as roads leading off of it. This creates congestion and adds to pollution. This also has a knock on effect of hindering emergency services such as ambulances.
Voicing your opinion about planning to the Barnet Council
Housing developer, Hill, has not submitted any development plans yet. But when they do, you will be able to find them on Barnet council's planning portal.
Relevant search terms on the portal should be Wood Street and Whalebones Park.
If you would like to comment to the local authority about the plans when they go through, you will need to do it in writing either online, though postal services or in person.
Matters taken into account are
- Effect on traffic, access and parking
- Scale, appearance and impact on surrounding area and adjoining neighbours
- Loss of light
- Overlooking and loss of privacy
- Effect on nature conservation and loss of trees
- Effect on a Conservation Area
- Effect on a Listed Building
- Noise and disturbance resulting from a use
- Whether the use would be appropriate for the area
What are your thoughts about a new development on Whalebones Park?
Please do share your thoughts in the comment box below. This will be used by the campaign group to better understand what people think about development on Whalebones Park.
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